How to Ship Souvenirs Home from Overseas by Laura Morelli, Author of Authentic Arts: Venice & a Giveaway

Souvenir shopping is a must during travel adventures--especially to far off locations overseas to which you may not return.   Have you ever wanted to purchase the perfect souvenir--but, hesitated because you just weren't sure how to get the item home?  Today, we have a guest post from Laura Morelli, author of Author of Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More, with some helpful advice about shipping souvenirs home from overseas.  

We are spotlighting Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More and Artisans of Venice: Companion to the Travel Guide throughout this post--so be sure to learn more about these wonderful travel guides--and enter to win a book tour prize from the author's giveaway at the end of this post!
Guest Post by Laura Morelli

How to Ship Souvenirs Home from Overseas
How will I get it home? This question is important to ask before separating yourself from your money when traveling overseas. There are two aspects of transporting your souvenir that you need to consider.

The first thing to decide is whether you will carry the item with you or ship it home. More portable souvenirs like a piece of jewelry or a set of handmade stationery are ideal for placing in your suitcase or wearing on the plane. You may be tempted to transport fragile items like glass in your carryon luggage, but remember that if something breaks, you will not have much recourse to replace it once you’ve boarded the plane.

Bulky or fragile items, or souvenirs such as knives that will not pass airport security, may be shipped. I do not recommend using the Italian (or any country’s) postal system, for the simple reason that—even if you’ve insured it—you will not be able to walk down to the post office and file a claim if your package never arrives. Stick with one of the major international carriers such as FedEx or UPS so that you may insure and track your package. Check your carrier’s web site ahead of time to get an idea of shipping rates and times. Some merchants, especially on Murano, are set up to take care of shipping for you. Some even have special packing materials and containers that are ideally suited to protect fragile items. Just ask! Don’t forget to exchange email addresses with the merchant and don’t leave the shop without your tracking number.

The second thing to consider is clearing Customs when you arrive home. The Customs Services of most countries post specific regulations on their web sites to guide you through importing goods purchased overseas. Most Americans who travel abroad are familiar with the U.S. restrictions on certain food items like fresh cheeses, wine, and chocolate, but did you know that there are additional regulations related to art objects and items that might be considered “cultural artifacts”? It’s a good idea to check your country’s Customs web site for a list of items that may be restricted or tariffed before you make a purchase in Venice or anywhere else overseas.

Quick Summary for Authentic Arts: Venice Travel Guide
Every traveler to Venice wants to go home with a special souvenir--a carnival mask, a piece of Murano glass, a handcrafted piece of lace. But selecting which mask or which goblet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Venice, something made in a traditional way? How do you gauge how much you should pay, and how do you know if you're being ripped off? How do you determine if you have fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of the city's most traditional arts: Murano glass, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, paper, and more. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on pricing, quality, and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of Venice.

Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Venice!

Quick Summary of Artisans of Venice: Companion to the Travel Guide

Going to Venice? Don't buy anything in Venice until you read this book!

Buyer Beware: Venice is full of tourist traps and mass-produced souvenirs passed off as authentic. Do you know how to tell the treasures from the trash?

In Venice, it's not easy to tell the treasures from the trash. This is true now more than ever before, as increasing numbers of carnival masks, glass, and other souvenirs flood into Venice, imported from overseas and passed off as authentic. There is no substitute for an educated buyer. Laura Morelli helps you locate the city's most authentic artisans--those practicing centuries-old trades of mask making, glass blowing, wood turning, silk spinning, and other traditions. Wouldn't you rather support authentic Venetian master artisans than importers looking to turn a quick profit without any connection to Venice at all?

Venice boasts some of the most accomplished master artisans in the world. Here's how you can find them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. Artisans of Venice brings you inside the workshops of the most accomplished makers of Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and millefiori, carnival masks and masquerade costumes, gondolas, Burano lace, mirrors, marbleized paper, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. This book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 authentic master artisans. If you're reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or smartphone, you can click directly on their street addresses for an interactive map, and link to their web sites and email addresses directly from the guide. A cross-referenced resource guide also offers listings by neighborhood.
Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Venice with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase.

About the Author:
Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Connect with Laura: Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~ 
Enter to Win A Prize in the Book Tour Giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway A little more information about the Carnival masks in the giveaway..

The baùta or baùtta

The baùta is the quintessential Venetian mask, worn historically not only at Carnival time but any time a Venetian citizen wished to remain anonymous, such as when he may have been involved in important law-making or political processes in the city. The simplest of the traditional Venetian mask types, the baùta is a stark faceplate traditionally paired with a full-length black or red hooded cloak called a tabàro (or tabàrro), and a tricorn hat, as depicted in paintings and prints by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. Most baùte were made of waxed papier-mâché and covered most of the face. The most prominent feature is a distinctive aquiline nose and no mouth. The lower part of the mask protruded outward to allow the mask wearer to breathe, talk, and eat while remaining disguised.

In the Commedia dell’Arte, Colombina played the role of maidservant. The Colombina is a half-mask that covers the forehead down to the cheeks, but leaves the mouth revealed. Originally, it would have been held up to the face by a baton in the hand. The Colombina is often decorated with more feminine flourishes, from gilding to gems and feathers, but both men and women may wear it.

This post is part of a book tour sponsored by Italy Book Tours.

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  1. Soooo much to love about Venice......the gondolas, the piazzas, the architecture, and more....Venice is probably the most romantic city in Italy..... This is a great post too....enjoyed it. And thank you for the chance to win!

  2. Lovely and very informative post is this thanks for sharing with us please keep updating us



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